ENHANCING ENTERPRISE COLLABORATION BY USING Enhancing enterprise collaboration by using multifaceted

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  • ENHANCING ENTERPRISE COLLABORATION BY USING

    MULTIFACETED SERVICES Sodki Chaari" 2, Loubna Ali', Frederique Biennier', Joel Favrel',

    Chokri Ben Amar INSA de Lyon - LIES?, Lyon, FRANCE

    (sodki. chaari, /ouhna.a/i, frederique. hiennier, joelfavrel }@insa-lyonfr ENI de Sfax .. REGIM, S(ax, TUNISIA

    Chokri. benamar@enis.mu.tn

    CONTEXT

    In fast changing markets, dynamic collaboration ability involves establishing and "enacting" husiness relationships on the fly in an adaptive way. Such dynamic organization relies on interoperahle and agile IT solutions. A con temporal)' approach for addressing these critical issues is the Service Oriented Architecture which can be introduced to implement opened and flexihle in/brmation system. According~v, collaborative processes can he implemented as a chain of services resulting ofa service composition process. Nevertheless, comhining "direct~v" elementary IT sen'ices .trom different entelprises may lack of security (as the different enterprises can get information of the partner IS organization) and leads to high~v complex system due to the IT service granularity. To overcome these limits, we have developed a service oriented enterprise model which transforms enterprise structure as a set of well defined Virtual Service. Virtual Services are used to orchestrate more elementary IT services and are comhined together to form the service chain according to different policies. As contractual relationships hetween enterprises are concerned, a particular allention must be paid on the service level agreements to support an end to end convenient quality of service level. That is why, we propose to couple the Virtual Service description to a dynamic service level management system, orchestrated thanks to elementary agents.

    Nowadays, organizations are more and more centred on their core competencies and outsource secondary tasks. This outsourcing policy leads to stronger inter- organisational relationships often based on service customer/service supplier relationships to adapt and increase continuously the global performance level and gain a competitive advantage. Consequently, enterprises focus has shifted from the improvement of their internal organizational level to the outsourcing strategy and the inter-organizational level. The combination of service consumer and service provider can be seen as global virtual enterprise which can be introduced to a third party as a single entity.

    Such collaborative organizations can be more or less stable, depending on the parties contracting conditions and on the environment context which may require more or less flexibility and agility (Kutvonen et al., 2005). This agility constraint, especially in fast changing environments, involves continuous adaptation of both the enterprise internal organization and collaboration partners selection. This context leads to the emergence of dynamic virtual markets in which partners are selected for short or midterm collaboration (Bartelt and Lamersdorf, 200 l). Consequently, a highly dynamic approach is required to create or retain a competitive position for

    Chaari, S., Ali, L., Biennier, F., Favre!, J., Amar, c.B., 2007, in IFlP International Federation for Information Processing, Volume 243, Establishing the Foundation of Collaborative Networks; cds. Camarinha-Matos, L., At:.~armanesh, H., Novais, P., Analide, c.; (Boston: Springer), pp. 521-528.

  • 522 Establishing the foundation of collaborative networks

    such an organization where service consumers dynamically determine which service providers will be selected to support the collaborative business process enactment. We define such a collaborative strategy as dynamic business process collaboration. This paradigm implies dynamic selection, contracting, composition and execution of business services.

    Several works have addressed this efficient and fast dynamic business process collaboration: from the structured electronic collaboration between organizations achieved by Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to frameworks enabling composition, service orchestration, contract enactment, executing and monitoring business services. Nevertheless, as the EDI approach focus on structured data interchange trough electronic transport media (Wob, 2000), it leads to a static connection between partners and not so much on process integration in dynamic business service collaboration. On the other hand, several approaches have been proposed to support inter-organization collaboration, by extending traditional Workflow Management System (WfMS) technology to distributed, Internet-based scenarios. For example the WISE project (Lazcano et aI., 2000) proposes an infrastructure to support inter-organizational process: collaboration processes (named virtual business processes) are built thanks to black box services published by potential partners in different registries. Nevertheless as the resulting process consists in the fixed orchestration of "concrete" IT services, it does not exhibit flexibility or agility and a particular attention must be paid on Information System (IS) interoperability.

    To support this interoperability requirement, standards are emerging and allow a more dynamic connection between organizations, typically through the use of Internet and XML technology such as the frameworks based on ebXML (Choi et aI., 2004) or RosettaNet (Sundaram and Shim, 2001). Nevertheless, these approaches lack of process integration which may lead to inconsistent service chains.

    Focusing on process integration leads either on a multiple Workflow management strategy (as the cross flow project) or on a service composition approach (as in eFlow project). Multi Workflow management strategy, as proposed in the Cross Flow project (Grefen et aI., 2000) involves the Workflow connection according to a service outsourcing logic. In this case, a service specification is detailed thanks to a contract described in a XML-based specification language. The contract provides the structure of the Workflow which implements the service in combination with other useful ones. The meta-model of both the inter-organizational process and the service structure is the WfMC process meta-model. A service matchmaker (based on the CORBA Trading Service) allows retrieving contract satisfying specific requirements. Services are managed by Workflow management systems and the inter-organization process enactment is performed by Cooperative Support Services (CSS's), which link the different Workflow management systems of the involved organizations through appropriate Proxy Gateways.

    On the other hand, the service composition approach as in the eFlow (Casati and Shan, 2001) involves specifying, enacting and monitoring composite e-Services. A composite service is described as a process schema (i.e. a graph which combines basic or composite services and defines the order of execution among the nodes in the process). Service heterogeneity is taken into account as eFlow provides adapters for services that support various B2B interaction protocols such as RosettaNet.

    Nevertheless, such collaborative strategy relies mostly on the Information System agility and interoperability. These constraints can be partially taken into

  • Enhancing enterprise collaboration by using multifaceted services 523

    account thanks to Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and particularly the Web service. Such SOA based IS can reinforce a business environment with a flexible infrastructure and processing environment. thanks to independent, reusable automated business process and systems functions (services) to either end-user applications or to other services distributed in a network, via published and discoverable interfaces (Alamri et aI., 2006, Alonso et aI., 2004, Papazoglou, 2003). Nevertheless, this approach fits well the IT implementation constraint but needs improvements to fit the collaborative enterprise requirements.

    Accordingly, we extend this approach to the global enterprise level, and not only to the IT level. The result is a flexible, agile, managed SOA ecosystem that supports dynamic enterprise collaboration. This architecture is based on SOA and extends it to a Service Oriented Enterprise (SOE) (Chaari et aI., 2006). Typically, a Service Oriented Enterprise is an enterprise which implements and exposes its business processes through a set of well defined business services. Such services are organized into a multifaceted service called Virtual Services (VS) which bridge the business- oriented world of dynamic business collaboration and the Web service technologies. The main issue of this work consists in improving the IT service structure and functionalities to enable dynamic and flexible business process collaboration through VS composition (section 2) including end to end service level management (section 3).

    2 VIRTUAL SERVICE ARCHITECTURE

    The central feature of the Service Oriented Enterprise is the alignment of both IT and business sides. In fact, we define two abstraction levels: IT services (i.e. technical services) and business services. On the IT side, Service Oriented Architecture can be built thanks to traditional methods so that a well defined set of IT services can be implemented and orchestrated. Business services are associated to the enterprise business functionalities. They correspond to a set of fine-grained services called business objects and more coarse-grained services called business components. These business components encapsulate the Workflow logic of an activity or the business process they expose. Typically business components are made of business objects which are composed of lower lev